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We were born to share.

on March 15, 2013 - 9:25am

As we think about the glorious future of Upwell, we're talking to lots of people who have helped shape our path over the past two years. It's inspiring to see how abstract concepts have turned into daily practices, some measurable in graphs and some measured in far less 2D ways.

We're thinking a lot about sharing this week.

One of the posters we look at every day in the Upwell office.

Though we think about sharing and open access all the time, we haven't gathered those thoughts in one post. Here's a first draft of the Upwell Manifesto of Sharing.

  1. We're on the big Team Ocean. Ray, who has several national medals in rowing, confirms our position on the team is most similar to coxswain. We are happy to serve as the boat servant, and it feels accurate to say we're guiding navigation and steering, and encouraging our team members to work together and pull hard. This is a sports metaphor I get.
  2. Our work should be accessible to anyone in the sector. Though we can't fly around to everyone's office and personally do campaign consulting, we do it several times a week on the phone or by skype. To date, we do it for free. When we learn something that feels like an emergent best practice, we share it on our blog, and at every speaking opportunity. We also know that busy shark evangelists and social media managers don't have the luxury of digging through big reports and digesting graphs based on newly evolved methodologies. We try to make access both available and *possible* by quickly packaging the gems.
  3. This isn't our sandbox. We surface and test models to share. Awesome ocean communications were underway long before we arrived on the scene. We're grateful for that. Lots of people play in this sandbox.
  4. We curate best practices, too. And we bring them back from our hunts in the wild, tidily packaged, to big Team Ocean. Upworthy has done some amazing work in the past year. We didn't invent image macros.
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Son of Sharkinar: More Defending Sharks Online During Shark Week

on August 9, 2012 - 12:08pm

We heard your requests, and scheduled more time this week to share Shark Week campaigns, recruit evangelists, and ask for help. Son of Sharkinar is on the books. Join fellow shark heroes this Friday, August 10 at 11am PST/ 2pm EST. Register here, and invite your colleagues.  The 10 minute State of the Shark briefing will be at the end of the call so you can hear it.

Son of Sharkinar
Friday, August 10 at 11am PST/ 2pm EST.
Register here

Our first sharkinar was a wild success, with 26 online shark fanatics attending.  A wide smattering of shark advocate NGOs attended.

Shark lovers who we love even more for registering for the first Sharkinar.

Shark Social Media Backchannel

As participants requested on the call, we’ve set up a listserv backchannel for you: the Shark Social Media Backchannel. This email group can serve as a backchannel among shark conservationists and enthusiasts active on social media. You know, to make sharks more famous on the internets.  You should have already recieved an invite, if not please email and we’ll get you right in.

State of the Shark Online

Aaron’s briefing is captured in this blog post.  Slides are here. And you can listen to it, beginning at minute 8:01, in the recording linked here.  The topline for you online shark-talkers:

  • Shark Week is the biggest single spike in the online shark conversation for the entire year.
  • The most popular theme for shark content and sentiment is Celebratory. People think sharks are awesome. (They are!)
  • The most popular Shark Week hashtag is #SHARKWEEK
  • If you're involved in the online shark conversation and want to reach a bigger, broader audience, Shark Week is an incredible opportunity to do so.
  • Follow the top influencers, start Tweeting and Facebooking, and join the conversation!Are you a Finfluencer?

Finfluencers.  It’s a bad pun, we know. Do you tweet about sharks? Do you have a Facebook page on which you post assorted sharkanalia?

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A #sharkweek Sharkinar is so much more delightful than a webinar

on August 7, 2012 - 9:22am

This morning, we're convening some of the top social minds in sharkiness to talk #sharkweek.  THE SHARKINAR IS UPON US.

Defending Sharks Online During Shark Week

If you talk about sharks online, please join the crew  of activists, scientists, bloggers, journalists, super-tweeters, and nonprofits at 11am PST/ 2pm EST to discuss how we can change the Shark Week online conversation together.

During the sharkinar we’ll:

    •    Share Upwell’s “State of the Shark” conversation, and our online shark conversation baseline data
    •    Discuss your Shark Week plans, and provide resources to support each other’s campaigns
    •    Provide tips for increasing the volume of shark conservation mentions online

Register now for the Sharkinar.


Sharkinar resource round up








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Australian Marine Reserves Drive Spike in Online Attention to MPAs

on June 21, 2012 - 6:44pm
Australia announced last week that it would establish “the world's largest network of marine reserves, which will ring the country and cover more than 3 million square kilometres of waters to protect reefs and marine life. … The massive expansion of marine reserves [will] include key waters such as the Coral Sea and pygmy blue whale habitats off the southern coast of Western Australia.”
The announcement resulted in a significant spike in the online conversation about MPAs, as you can see below. The conversation about MPAs is generally pretty quiet with about 200 social mentions a day, so a spike to 2,000 is pretty big. 

Social mentions June 5-19, 2012 for Upwell's MPA keyword set (blue) and Australian Marine Reserves (orange.)
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Looking Back at World Oceans Day

on June 21, 2012 - 12:25pm

World Oceans Day was June 8, and a multitude of organizations used the date to launch initiatives and awareness campaigns. IUCN launched a Marine World Heritage App for iPhones; MPAtlas launched;  Smithsonian’s Ocean Portal hosted a live webcast (now archived) featuring Sylvia Earle; and Alexandra Cousteau broadcast a message from on board an Oceana vessel in the Baltic. Brussels’ famous Mannekin-Pis had a makeover for the day, as did New York’s Empire State Building. More interactively, several local organizations conducted beach clean-up programs, and 1World1Ocean organized a contest for students aged 12-18 explaining what the ocean means to them.

The Twitter hashtag #worldoceansday proved successful - perhaps surprisingly so - in moving the dial in online mentions and coverage of ocean issues, as this graph shows:

Social mentions in the U.S. May 18- June 15, 2012 for the Upwell "ocean" Keyword set (teal blue) , World Oceans Day (dark blue), and #worldoceansday (pale blue)

The 95,481 mentions of ocean on June 8 (23,554 of which were mentions of World Oceans Day) represented an impressive 41 percent increase over the average daily volume for the month of 67,708. “!!!” editorializes Upwell’s Aaron Muszalski

Take a minute to send a thank you email to the Ocean Project for kicking off this impressive effort. We’ll make it easy for you, email awesome World Oceans Day Coordinator Alyssa Isakower right now or tweet her thanks with tremendous ease.
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Talking about #endfossilfuelsubsidies? Keep it up. (Updated)

on June 18, 2012 - 5:07pm


Social mentions in the U.S. June 16-18, 2012 for the Upwell "ocean" Keyword set (blue) and #EndFossilFuelSubsidies (orange)

Upwell's Network Strategist Aaron Muszalski says, "#endfossifuelsubsidies is getting the same amount of social mentions now as the ocean. Which is pretty awesome." 

Why is this happening?

From Jamie Henn at

Engineering the Twitterstorm took days of advanced planning. recruited over 5,000 people to join a core "Twitter Team" designed to drive traffic at key moments throughout the day, as well as target celebrities with large twitter followings and key politicians. For over a week, people have been signing up at to get updates on the storm and get ready for the day of action.

We pay rather a lot of attention to how many people are talking about the ocean here at Upwell. The #EndFossilFuelSubsidies trend is likely (and predictably) falling off right now because our east coast pals are logging off for the evening. It could pick up again tomorrow. You, for example, could cause it to pick up tomorrow.

From the League of Conservation Voters:

Tweets with the hashtag #endfossilfuelsubsidies will be beamed onto global landmarks in Sydney, New Delhi, London, Rio and other locations. An offline petition for the campaign has already collected over a million signatures, and a Facebook event for the storm has drawn over 2,600 attendees.

From Jamie Henn at

A coordinated campaign to promote the hashtag #endfossilfuelsubsidies during the Rio+20 Earth Summit has taken the internet by storm today.

The online action began at 08:00 GMT and quickly skyrocketed to the #2 trend on Twitter worldwide. As sun rose in the United States, #endfossilfuelsubsidies was still trending at #3 across the country. By evening in Australia, as activists projected tweets at the Sydney Opera House, the hashtag was trending at #2.

As a team that cares about #oceanacidification, we say go team go!

Update June 19, 2012

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Upwell Team Uniforms

on June 7, 2012 - 8:35am

It may be some time before all of the components of our Team Upwell equipment are sourced.  For now, all we've found is our team Adidas, and naturally they're out of stock.  The outfitting of Team Zissou has many inspiring components, and the shoes are no exception.  Does anyone have a gold foil alpabet stamp we can borrow?  We just need U, P, W, E, and L.  Thanks.


We do not, however, find inspiration in the Team Zissou policies covering the issuing of firearms.  Our summer intern program, now accepting applications, is entirely Glock free.  Send us all your sea-loving, internet-whiz pals today:

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Marketing Toolkit for World Oceans Day

on June 5, 2012 - 6:44am

Alyssa at The Ocean Project has created a handy Marketing Toolkit for World Oceans Day, June 8, 2012.  Targeted at communications staff, bloggers, journalists and social media evangelists, it catalogues a useful body of resources. Hop over to check it out now, and make your participation in World Oceans Day easy. Here are a few highlights from the toolkit:

Facebook Timeline Cover

Sample tweet:

Did you know June 8th is World Oceans Day? #WorldOceansDay

Sample articles for bloggers:

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World Turtle Day + Robot Fish Police + More: Sea Signals for the week of May 20, 2012

on May 30, 2012 - 6:30pm

It was a busy week at Upwell: the end of fish, seafood and slaves, mercury in dolphins from power plants, our plasticized ocean, robot fish police, robot boats, Upwell overcomes Facebook insecurity and asks for friends, and World Turtle Day.

The End of Fish, In One Chart

On Sunday, May 20th, “The End of Fish, In One Chart,”  was published on The Washington Post’s WONKBLOG by Ezra Klein.

Amplification & Reaction

When we looked at how the story was moving on Monday, May 21st, it seemed like it already had momentum in the marine conservation Twitter community, so we decided to reach out to a different audience: vegetarians and vegans. We sent a tweet to a vegan magazine with a large Twitter following, and its senior editor.  The magazine RT’d the story to its 36,000 + followers.

We also shared the link via Twitter with a sustainable seafood cookbook author to ask for her thoughts about it, and had a 2-tweet conversation.

We Learned

We’re wondering if people who write about food are an especially active online community.

Did Slaves Catch Your Seafood?

On Monday, May 21st, ran the article, “Did Slaves Catch Your Seafood?” about how, “Thailand, a major source of fish imported to the US, depends on forced labor for its product.”

Amplification & Reaction

Thinking that this might be a story that the human trafficking community would want to share, we tweeted the story to four trafficking advocates with large Twitter followings.  Unfortunately, they didn’t RT story, and the number of clicks to the story link were minimal.

We Learned

If future stories come up about human trafficking and seafood, it might be more effective to reach out to advocates who have a smaller twitter following, or to combine Twitter outreach with email.

Mercury in Dolphins Higher Downwind of Power Plants

On Monday, May 21st, ScienceDaily posted, “Mercury in Dolphins Higher Downwind of Power Plants,”  about a Johns Hopkins University study comparing the level of toxins in wild and

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Ocean of Life + NOAA Fisheries report + Endangered Species Day + Groupers: Sea Signals for the week of May 14, 2012

on May 21, 2012 - 11:32am

Ocean of Life
Buzz is building around the May 24th release of Callum Roberts’ new book The Ocean of Life. The Economist covered it on May 12th, and The Daily Beast shared an excerpt on May 14th (that appears in this week’s issue of Newsweek). The Mirror and Wall Street Journal covered it on May 18th, and Roberts is scheduled to be on The Diane Rehm Show in early June.

Amplification Action & Reaction
This week we reached out to 10 ocean conservation orgs  by email and through Twitter to let them know about the book’s release, its coverage in The Daily Beast and The Economist, and how to request a review copy for their blog.  At this writing, we’ve received one email reply from an ocean conservation organization who wrote to thank us for the heads up, and to say that they will share it through their social media channels.

It’s possible that the other 9 organziations didn’t respond to our tweets and emails because a. the email subject lines weren’t enticing enough, b. the email was never opened because the recipient didn't recognize the sender, and/or c. we should have waited to reach out after the book’s release when anyone could pick up a copy..

NOAA Fisheries Report
On May 14, 2012, The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) released its Annual Report to Congress on the Status of U.S. Fisheries. Overall, the report was positive, announcing that six fish stocks were rebuilt, and 86% of the 258 stocks monitored were in good shape. However, 45 stocks are still overfished, showing room for improvement.

The report received early attention in major news outlets -- Associated Press, Fishnewseu, New York Times among others -- and was receiving moderate amounts of attention in social media.

Number of online mentions (including blogs, social media, and forums) of the 2011 NOAA Status of Stocks report between May 13th and May 17th, 2012.

Amplification Action & Reaction
We  focused our efforts on reaching out to organizations focused on, or interested in